What is Mediation
Mediation is one of a number of methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), sometimes known as Resolution of Disputes Out of Court (REDOC). In short it is a form of resolving a dispute between parties that can avoid the need to go to court and therefore avoid many of the negative aspects of litigating a dispute, including both expense and time.
The mediator is a neutral person who actively assists the parties to work toward a negotiated agreement. The mediation takes place by agreement and the parties can leave at any time, unlike court proceedings the parties retain control throughout the process.
Although there are options for shorter sessions most mediations take a full day (8 hours) the parties start and end in the same room (for introductions and a settlement at the end) but generally the remainder of the day is taken up with private meetings between the mediator and each party in turn.
The mediator is skilled at breaking deadlock, assisting parties to move past the emotional part of a dispute and concentrate on what they really want to achieve. The majority of mediations end with a settlement that avoids a court appearance; though even if a settlement is not agreed mediation is seldom a wasted endeavour as it often significantly narrows the issues in a dispute.
When should I mediate?
Mediation can take place at any stage of a dispute, in simple terms the earlier parties engage in mediation the better. There is a balance to be struck between starting too early and knowing enough about the case to hold a meaningful mediation session.
However, the earlier a meaningful mediation session can be held the greater the chance of successfully reaching an agreement which avoids going to court. Some of the other benefits of mediating a dispute earlier in proceedings are: greater cost savings; faster resolution; and greater chance of maintaining a relationship with the other party
Timing of Mediation
- Post-issue of claim
- During proceedings
- Prior to Appeal